I really dig cover albums. I don’t mean albums of unrelated cover songs, like Cat Power’s Jukebox or Covers Record, although those are cool, too. I mean a band covering another band’s album in its entirety.
Unfortunately I can’t find a definitive webpage on cover albums. That doesn’t mean there isn’t one; This could just be one of those things that’s hard to search for. Plug “cover album” into Google and all you find is the the albums of cover songs, like the Cat Power records listed above or you find websites that specialize in finding cover art for your MP3s.
The cover albums that I know about (and have in my iTunes collection) are:
Pussy Galore, Exile on Main St. (Originally by the Rolling Stones)
The Walkmen, Pussy Cats (Originally by Harry Nilsson)
Ben Lee, New Wave (Originally by Against Me!)
Dirty Projectors, Rise Above (Originally Damaged by Black Flag)
Redd Stripes, Redd Blood Cells (Originally White Blood Cells by the White Stripes)
Some of these fit the formula more than others. The Walkmen album is pretty much a note-for-note recreation of the Nilsson version, and Ben Lee’s New Wave is also very much like the original. On the other hand, the Dirty Projectors take on Damaged is very different. Reportedly Dave Longstreth didn’t listen to the album again, he wanted to record his impressions, from memory, of the Black Flag version, not actually create covers. For that reason it’s missing entire songs, and in some places the lyrics are completely different.
I’m not sure that the Redd Stripes thing really counts as a cover album at all. Stephen Banes, the bassist for Redd Kross, decided that he had to know what the White Stripes would sound like with a bassist. So he took every song on White Blood Cells and recorded a bass track on top of it and then put them on the Internet. The results are really very cool.
There were rumors back in the day that either Sonic Youth or the Minutemen were going to record a cover of the Beatles White Album, but, unfortunately, that didn’t pan out. That would have been fuckin’ awesome! Hell, it still would be. Watt, call up Thurston and make it happen.
If you know of any other cover albums, please let me know.
Update, 3/14/2008: From the comments, Tusk by Camper Van Beethoven, originally by Fleetwood Mac. Then, from the iTunes review of the Tusk cover, Blood on the Tracks by Mary Lee’s Corvette, originally by Bob Dylan. I don’t have either of these, but it looks like they wouldn’t be too expensive to buy used on Amazon.
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